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understanding employment laws

With more than 400 federal laws regulating employment and a large number of similar state laws, the job of supervising people and avoiding legal problems can seem overwhelming. However, becoming aware of the major laws and the most common problems to avoid will help you feel more confident about what you should do. Here are the major federal laws and a brief explanation of each:

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
Requires employers to pay at least the hourly minimum wage plus overtime to hourly workers who work more than 40 hours per week.

Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII
Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or religion. Resulted in the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978
Prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy or childbirth.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act, amended 1978
Prohibits discrimination against persons age 40 and over.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.

Civil Rights Act of 1991
Allows former employees who win discrimination lawsuits to receive punitive damages and damages for emotional distress in addition to back pay and attorneys' fees.

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
Provides covered employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons.

To learn more about these and other federal and state employment laws, visit the following websites:

U.S. Department of Labor Website

Missouri Department of Labor & Industrial Relations


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